Weekly News Review - 22nd May 2023

UK Government holds first Net Zero Council

The first-ever meeting of the Net Zero Council was held by the UK government on Tuesday. The meeting was co-chaired by Energy Minister Graham Stuart and Co-op Group chief executive Shirine Khoury-Haq. The aim of the council is to support industry to help cut their emissions, and develop greener practices as well as growing the economy.

The meeting was attended by leaders of some of the world’s leading banks, energy companies, technology giants and finance firms including Siemens, SSE, HSBC, NatWest and Lloyds of London. The council will work to ensure sectors and companies have a pathway to net zero, including looking at the barriers and connections across sectors.

The council will also lead a systematic review of the financing challenges and the respective roles of government, industry and the financial sector in addressing them. Another key objective is identifying key challenges facing SMEs up and down the country in reducing their carbon footprints and supporting their transition with new information and advice.

Energy Minister Graham Stuart said: “The Net Zero Council provides the high-level forum for government, business and finance leaders to work together to unlock the opportunities of the green transition. Tackling emissions can make businesses more energy efficient, improve UK energy security and, in turn, cut costs. It can open up opportunities to export UK developed solutions around the world, expand UK market share and create jobs.”

“The UK has cut its emissions more than any other major economy and the Net Zero Council – meeting today for the first time – will ensure that leaders of UK businesses can help guide government and vice versa so that our environmental leadership translates into economic advantage.”

“The Net Zero Council includes some of the most senior business and finance leaders in the country. I am grateful that such extraordinary people are prepared to contribute their knowledge, experience and talent for the benefit of both this country and future generations.”

SSE to turn former Ferrybridge coal plant site into 150MW grid battery

SSE Renewables has taken a Final Investment Decision to proceed with the 150MW battery energy storage system (BESS) located at the site of the former Ferrybridge coal-fired power station. The investment is part of SSE’s £12.5bn Net Zero Acceleration Programme with construction due to commence later this month at the iconic site.

The project is expected to be fully operational by late 2024 with a grid connection confirmed for June 2024. Providing flexible generation for the national electricity system will signal a new era for the site in West Yorkshire, England following the decommissioning of the coal plant in 2016. This will be SSE Renewables’ second battery storage project following the 50MW BESS site already under construction in Salisbury, Wiltshire, due to be completed later this year.

Richard Cave-Bigley, Director of Solar and Battery at SSE Renewables, said: “Reaching Final Investment Decision for our Ferrybridge battery storage project is another exciting landmark for us. Located next to the former Ferrybridge coal power station, this important new project demonstrates clearly the transition to net zero while supporting new green jobs.”

“SSE Renewables has almost 2GW of battery and solar projects currently in development or under construction. These technologies are key to helping SSE deliver on its Net Zero Acceleration Programme to provide the green energy we need to decarbonise.”

“By building out more battery storage, we can get more renewable power onto the Grid. That’s because batteries store power in times of surplus generation and release it when it’s needed the most – helping us bring flexibility and balance to the Grid.”

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